PAUCITY OF HOPE
(Update: Fred Wilson bravely weighs in with his thoughts on "Financial McCarthyism" as well following a recent discussion. He makes some very good points on the subject. The comments there are especially interesting, on both sides of the issue.)
Over the past few days, I've been talking about the populist outrage around AIG bonuses that is increasingly turning into naked rage, driven by politicians and the media down a slippery slope of hopeless self-destructiveness. The current state of affairs is turning alarming, to say the least.
Thomas Friedman brings up some thoughts related to this sorry state of affairs in arresting terms:
There don’t seem to be any
adults at the top — nobody acting larger than the moment, nobody being
impelled by anything deeper than the last news cycle.
Instead, Congress is slapping together punitive tax laws overnight like some Banana Republic, our president is getting in trouble cracking jokes on Jay Leno comparing his bowling skills to a Special Olympian, and the opposition party is behaving as if its only priority is to deflate President Obama’s popularity."
It does feel like we have a vacuum of leadership at every level, and it's extinguishing hope everywhere.
One wonders where the folks that could lead us through some of this at every level are hiding, hoping that they may yet raise their hand.
Mr. Friedman goes on though to describe why this may itself be a challenge:
"If you want to guarantee that America becomes a mediocre nation, then
just keep vilifying every public figure struggling to find a way out of
this crisis who stumbles once — like Treasury Secretary Timothy
Geithner or A.I.G.’s $1-a-year fill-in C.E.O., Ed Liddy — and you’ll
ensure that no capable person enlists in government.
You will ensure
that every bank that has taken public money will try to get rid of it
as fast it can, so as not to come under scrutiny, even though that
would weaken their balance sheets and make them less able to lend
And you will ensure that we’ll never get out of this banking crisis, because the solution depends on getting private money funds to team up with the government to buy up toxic assets — and fund managers are growing terrified of any collaboration with government."
The sad thing in all this is that there are countless folks in every walk of life willing and able to do their part getting us through all this period. We do need our leaders though to stop fanning the flames of class warfare, and doing a whole lot more to bring us together.
After all, the house is on fire, and we need everyone's help to work together to put it out. And soon.